Sunday August 2, 2015
By. Khadar Hanan
I have seen it hijacking my
people towards unknown future; I have seen it destroying the moral values of my
culture; I have seen it growing considerably bigger in the hearts and minds of
the upcoming generations; yet, I have seen it affecting every single aspect of
my peoples’ lives. Why TRIBALISM?
Glancing back at centuries in my
peoples’ patriarchal lives, warrior-life-style coupled with artistic creativity
by nature in the form of poetry and ballads was the only fashion(s) someone or some
tribe would demonstrate their status all and sundry. Livestock possessions especially
the camel was the epicenter for tribal pride and magnanimity over their
peers in their socio-pastorals community dispersedly lived across swaths in the
horn of Africa. Forceful displacements for land expansion(s) and confiscations
of the possessions (livestock) in the form of robbery amongst the
major clans were the reason to wage wars on each other, where the literature “a
more propagandistic than realistic” was also the mere mainstream media.
This life-style prior to the
centuries however, had been gradually conformed into a low profile driven civilizations,
where the tribes from the same ancestral-roots had formed small villages fitted
for their existence. This was the unpopular villageization evolution, where
those who bankrupt their livestock due to the tough seasonal droughts or wars
were the class to venture village adventures. Strict cultural norms and values
amongst the societies was the rule of law at the time. Though, the people were
100% Muslim; the Muslim theology was relatively lesser, as the Dervish (a sufi
Mulism ascetic path) known for their chants to commend Prophet Mohamed
(Pbh) were the major source of the religion. Yet again, it is undeniable that
this was a good ground that had preserved the people from the deceitful and
daring influences of the Christian ideologies. Sultans, tribal chiefs and elders were the
only leadership elite class that would broker, arbitrate and decisively reach a
resolution towards any issues. Strong cultural based conflict practices were
the binding principles for achieving a lasting resolution to any problem(s) so
happened between the tribes. Any breach of the resolution or any failure to
comply with such cultural norms by a tribe or individual__ forfeiting of wealth
social ostracism or complete disenfranchisement were like the penalty-codes to
be slapped with. Where as on the contrary, full compensation(s) to the loss so
happened, exchanging brides and creating new affinities between the hostile
tribes were like cementing the resolution to perpetuate the peaceful
coexistence of the society.
Cultural Pride Vs Colonization
When the western colonial powers
(The so-called British
Somaliland) disembarked into the Somali territories in the mid 1880s,
they studied about the tribal affiliations and how they could simply be
manipulated by just using the elite class we have mentioned earlier. As the
history narrates, there were apparent moral and armed rebellions erupted
between what the colonial conquerors had to dictate and the solidness of this
culture. The Dervish armed rebellion headed by Mullah Mohamed Abdullah Hassan and the clear stance(s) by the Sultans at the time are a good example
for it. Never-ever-bow to what the disbelievers import was the tactical warfare
underpinning my peoples’ inner strength to confront this alien invasion. Notwithstanding,
the British had defeated the Dervish (Darweesh) led armed rebellion by using some
of the major tribes. This is very long and vast history in fact, which a
single piece of writing would never be enough to be recapitulated, but
mission of mine is to precisely shed some light on the chronology of the early lives
and culture of my people, which could presumably be the roots of today’s tribal
What is Tribalism?
Though, I have shared the same
once before with my friends on the social media (FB), allow me to share it here
with you all again verbatim. Back to my varsity-days in India, the final year
of my Master Degree program__ unlike the common Indians who mainly do not
bother about the global affairs; a young dynamic varsity mate approached me and
asked where I was from? I vividly replied, “I am from Somalia”. Somalia! Can
you please tell me why Somalia never stabilizes for quite long time, he asked? My reply “It’s all about tribalism”.
Tribalism! The man says!!! What does that mean please? He asks again. He
continues, ‘do you mean because of different religious believes
or cast-system? As both the former and the later are of the root causes
of Indian communal fights. I said no, yet I told him about having one religion,
one language and culture; absolutely a homogeneous people in the horn of Africa. So what, he asked? To find the answer for
this question__ Hmm, I twisted my brain to come up with a lasting yet digestible
an unequivocal answer, but I could not. I eventually drew ambiguous reply
perhaps to get myself out of this shameful embarrassment. This has drastically taken me far beyond
words, as I have asked myself many times about tribalism and how these sinister
practices have become a nationwide outbreak.
What is a tribe?
Ontologically, we can say it’s an
identity based on solid proximity and kinship that separates someone or some
tribe from others within the people or society in an area, a country or a continent
etc. It’s a genealogy and mythology related architecture which enable people
uphold and preserve their identity in the longer run, so that their roots would
ever be kept intact. I think I won’t be good enough to draw a better or more
in-depth definition(s) to the question above than those who specializes in Metaphysics
or Engaged theory, as they can help us understand
more about the social complexity structures and their interrelations through more
empirical analysis. This paragraph is from personal research in an
attempt to know about what tribe could mean in different cultures globally and to
let myself be equipped with all the necessary resources to give a concurrent
answer to any future similar question posed by that young Indian guy.
But the question is, “would the
subjectivity of my answer any way do with the objectivity of such question”?
The answer is an emphatic “NO”.
Being a Muslim by Allah’s grace,
the below verse in the Holy Book (the
is quite explicit to the subject matter was always clicking in the back of my
head, and as soon I have read about it with my full attention; I confess, there
is no a single more convincing unequivocal statement than the below in regard
with my query above where Allah SWT says:
O mankind! Indeed; We
created you from a male and a female and We made you nations and tribes that
you may know one another. Indeed, (the) most noble of you near Allah (is the)
most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Knower, All-Aware.
Repeating this verse in the holy
Qur’an several times, I was finding myself like absorbing in a great deal the very
substance of our genetic impulse that goes alone with every heartbeat of ours (tribe
devotion), and how Allah SWT clearly praised those who are righteous but
not those whose tribal egos lays their bricks to build a foolish status. I am
asking myself since our doctrine preaches this, why satanic doctrine?
Tribalism and its discontent
From Somali practices perspective,
tribalism is nothing more than supremacism driven psychological notion and as
Somalia slipped into the decades long vicious circles, tribal affiliations have
enormously re-emerged and took the power from a vacuum. However, some of the
tribes have collectively succeeded to set up Defacto state and intern survived
from the ongoing deflagrations of the southern Somalia. Somaliland has opted
for secession in the mid-1991 after the collapse of the dictatorship regime.
Puntland have later on joined in a relatively lesser role and formed an
autonomous or semiautonomous state of Somalia, where they have also succeeded
to nurture peace within their territory.
The rest of what was the greater Somalia have relatively failed to
achieve a consensus to promote peace amongst their people and still copes with the
burdens of instability, local and imported (the AU).
Tribalism is the source of the Somali
problems in toto; it’s an institution where the wordmongers, shameless cultural
leaders, corruptive politicians, heartless warlords, jackals and Trojan
horse(s) hired by Somali enemies graduates. Tribes are the root cause of their
problems as they are the hard cheque(s) which these groups use in their best
interest but not the common interest. It acts as the only platform where the
failed part of the society from within and the Diaspora attest their
disqualifications and joins uncensored into the political stir of the country. Yet
it’s, where the mindless tribes who facilitate them do their job are the
collective victims of what they have sowed by their hands alone. In other
words, it’s like an expiry-free death certificate issued for the elimination of
hundreds of thousands of Somalis. Believe me, “tribe affiliation is what can
buy you the power today in Somalia”, no matter how your background exposes your
incompetency__ still you can simply be a Minster, MP, VP or even the president
of the country.
Bias, nepotism, opportunity-centrism
and power concentration to clan affiliations are what drives the whole nation.
A captain without proper navigation system had sailed off the ship of my people
with no lifeboats and left floating unattended for more than two decades.
People are suffering and had been suffering from a pain the causation of which was
diagnosed (tribalism) but kept uncured.
Somalia is a country where tomorrow
lies for; people seem to be disappointed and losing the patience to meet what
their future has in store for them. Let’s not be disappointed because the solution
to our problems still lies in our hands, read about the world history to know
what had happened in Somalia still amounts only fractions to what had happened
in all the continents.
Let’s say ‘NO’ to tribalism; let’s say ‘YES’ to governance and prosperity.
By. Khadar Hanan
Email: [email protected]